“Oh, gosh, what’s that hard piece in my mouth? Oh no! I broke a tooth!” And that’s what would a lot of people think every day after they realized they just chipped one of their teeth.

Cracking a tooth can be a painful and embarrassing experience. When a piece of tooth is fractured, the tooth itself may become sensitive, and the sharp edges it leaves can annoyingly rub on your lips, your cheeks or your tongue. And if it’s a front tooth that breaks, your smile is compromised which will shy you out from opening your mouth.

Anyone can crack a tooth, but there are ways to try to avoid it by using some good habits. The following is a list of things that would crack or break your teeth.

Oral piercings

An oral piercing, especially the metal type, whether placed on your tongue or lips, may very well break your teeth. The lips and the tongue move all the time when talking and eating, and its surfaces hit the teeth. Movements also occur when someone’s sleeping, and the piercing will continuously hit teeth, which will eventually crack them.

Steel tongue barbells are particularly known to cause teeth to chip and crack the most.

Not wearing a mouth guard

Contact sports can cause trauma to your face and to your teeth. Getting a custom made athletic mouthguard will reduce trauma to your teeth and the risk of breaking any of them while you play those sports.

Chewing on hard objects

Some consumable foods are very hard and can crack teeth. Chewing on ice sounds as harmless as drinking water. But the hardness of the ice can do a good amount of damage to your teeth.

Eating popcorn can be a social activity, especially done while watching a movie. But the uncooked popcorn kernels are very hard and can crack teeth if chewed on.

Using teeth at tools

Some people use their teeth as scissors, container openers, or metal tool holders. If you use your teeth as tools, they will be submitted to forces that will wear them and cause them to crack.

Teeth grinding

Teeth are the hardest substance in the body. Their purpose is to chew and to break down foods as the digestion process starts. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is using an unneeded and excessive amount of forces on teeth, which will wear them out over time, or create cracks in them that will eventually cause them to break.

There are a few ways to treat or to control teeth grinding. The most common one being that your dentist can make you an appliance called a night guard or bite splint. You can wear a night guard mostly while sleeping. When bruxism occurs a night, that is when it is not possible to control it, and an appliance is needed. Some people grind their teeth uncontrollably, that they even need to wear this appliance during the day.

Teeth clenching

Clenching is the tightening of your bottom teeth firmly against your upper teeth. Teeth clenching is also part of the process called bruxism and it happens when a person is stressed, angry, is concentrated during a task, or when exercising. It triggers a lot of unwanted forces to your teeth and can cause them to crack and break.

A night guard can also help reduce forces on teeth if a person clenches during the night.

Misaligned teeth

A dental malocclusion is a bad disposition of the teeth that makes them misaligned. It is a situation that people don’t like because of the way their teeth look. But having misaligned teeth also means that some of them are submitted to more forces than others during biting and chewing, and those will eventually crack.

An orthodontic treatment will not only result in a beautiful smile, but will also make teeth well aligned in such a way they will all get balanced forces while chewing foods.

Poor oral hygiene

If you don’t brush and floss your teeth, they are more susceptible to cavities and gum disease. By losing tooth structure due to cavities, each tooth can crack more easily. And by losing teeth, the remaining ones sustain more forces in the mouth, which also might cause them to break.

Unexpected hard objects in your food

Sometimes you are eating in a restaurant and you suddenly bite on something hard that you didn’t expect to be there. It might be a bone, an olive seed, or even a rock! If that object is in between your teeth and you bite hard on it without thinking, one of your teeth might break.
This is a very unfortunate situation that can happen to many people.


As the years pass, we use our teeth more and more, and they have a longer history of chewing foods, and maybe also grinding and clenching. Therefore, teeth are more likely to have wear and cracks, making them more vulnerable to fracture.


  1. Image: Dear Doctor Dental Magazine.
  2. Bruxism, Wikipedia.